The Duhem-Quine thesis and experimental economics: A reinterpretation
AbstractThe Duhem-Quine thesis asserts that any empirical evaluation of a theory is in fact a composite test of several interconnected hypotheses. Recalcitrant evidence signals falsity within the conjunction of hypotheses, but logic alone cannot pinpoint the individual element(s) inside the theoretical cluster responsible for a false prediction. This paper considers the relevance of the Duhem-Quine thesis for experimental economics. A starting point is to detail how laboratory evaluations of economic hypotheses constitute composite tests. Another aim is to scrutinize the strategy of conducting a series of experiments in order to hem in the source(s) of disconfirmative evidence. A Bayesian approach is employed to argue that reproducing experiments is not necessarily useful in terms of identifying correct causes of recalcitrant data.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 21/2002.
Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 18 Jun 2003
Date of revision:
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Postal: Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 22 85 51 27
Fax: 22 85 50 35
Web page: http://www.oekonomi.uio.no/indexe.html
More information through EDIRC
Experimental economics; methodology; Duhem-Quine thesis;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
- C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
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